Katherine Price Snedaker, LCSW

  • Executive Director, PINKconcussions
  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Katherine Snedaker, LCSW, is the Executive Director and Founder of PINK Concussions, a non-profit focused on female brain injury including concussion from sports, violence, accidents, and military service. She earned her Masters in Social Work from Fordham University.

In 2013, Katherine founded PINK Concussions as a website summarizing all the research on female concussions. In 2016, Katherine brought together the top experts in the field in produced the first International Summit of Female Concussion and TBI at Georgetown University School of Medicine/Medical Center/MedStar, and a two day symposium on Female Brain Injury at the Palo Alto VA Healthcare System/Stanford University.

Katherine has presented on female concussions for the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center DVBIC, and the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury, as well civilian medical conferences, such as the American Academy of Neurology AAN Sports Concussion Conference, and the 2016 World Brain Injury Congress at The Hague.

Partnered with Clemson University professors, she has published a peer-reviewed study of female and male athletes’ experience of concussion. She is currently working on a three year project to track any reported concussions in 11,000 school children in Norwalk CT.

Before PINK Concussions, she founded SportsCAPP.com which focused on free resources for youth sports teams for concussion education and policy; and also produced four state conferences for CT school nurses/staff in best practices to help students “Return to Learn/School” after concussion while lowering risk of liability. She has presented on concussion across the US, Canada and Europe.

Why did I go PINK?

I founded PINK Concussions to improve the research, medical care and community support for females with brain Injury including concussion #pinkTBI. I believe females with brain injuries ARE the invisible patients within "the invisible injury." 

It is my belief that every female with a concussion deserves a doctor who practices with gender-specific consideration for her symptoms, her acute care and her recovery plan. Her journey back to health can be helped by the correct diagnosis, gender-specific care, education, and the proper support systems at home, school or work.

I have suffered concussions since I was sixteen and learned quickly just not mention the weeks of headaches to doctors who had no understanding of my experience. But in 2008, when my son suffered a series of concussion which forced him to close to a year of school, I sought out concussion experts, emailed researchers and attended scores of medical professional conferences to find an alternative to the isolating prescription of "rest until symptoms cleared."

I quickly became "the concussion mom" to call for answers and found myself educating more and more families each month. There seemed to be a deep gap between local doctors' diagnosis of a concussion and the family's knowledge and coping skills on how to help their child heal from a concussion. The schools also seemed to lack an understanding of how best to integrate a child still healing back into the classroom. My quest to help my own child had now expanded to wider and wider circles of need.

With my background of social work and new knowledge of concussions, I went on to found several concussion education websites, support groups and organizations to educate sports, schools and community groups on larger scale. I also co-founded and worked in concussion clinics and began to speak across the country at government, civic and sports events. As medical social worker by profession and a mother of a child who had PSC, I had the unique prospective of being a patient, caregiver and professional challenged by concussion.

Working in the clinics and talking to families, I began to notice young girls who they weren’t healing as fast as their families, friends and teachers felt they should. In support groups, the girls shared their experience and frustrations with doctors, teachers and their peers. I founded a unique support group for teens with PCS which ended up being ALL females. Over several months we met twice a week to explore types of exercise and support to see what would best benefit girls with PCS. I learned more from these girls than I could ever read in a book or a classroom. The isolation of staying at home combined unsupportive attitudes of teachers, peers and medical providers was clear when these teens shared their what turned out to be a common experience.

While I had great plans to run further support groups, in quick succession, Hurricane Sandy partial-destroyed my house and I was diagnosed breast cancer. With time off from the concussion clinic due to cancer treatment, I founded PINKconcussions.

Katherine with Jim Nantz and his wife at the NFL-GE Announcement, 2013

Katherine with Jim Nantz and his wife at the NFL-GE Announcement, 2013

What was the PINK Spark?

In January 2013, I was undergoing treatment for breast cancer but wanted to still contribute to my field. My thought was to have a website with information about female concussion originated from a misquote by Jim Nantz to Roger Goodell on The 2013 Super Bowl Pre-Game Show.  Nantz remarked, “women soccer players are 2 1/2 times more likely to suffer a concussion than college football players." 

Instead, he should have compared "women soccer players" to "male soccer players," not to football players. His misquote caused great controversy that morning as press, football and soccer fans alike scrambled to google the correct statistic. From my research experience, I knew that statistics about female concussions were buried in short sub-paragraphs on gender in larger research studies. I realized there needed to be a central hub for information about female concussions and launched the first site on the internet to focus purely on female head injuries and began tweeting under @PinkConcussions,.

I confirmed the site’s value when I presented in DC, on Feb. 25, 2013, to the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council Committee on Sports-Related Concussion. As I was waiting to present, I noticed that almost every presentation had some small section about differences in female concussion including those from the US Army and ATC of West Point. 

Meeting Dr.Bennett Omalu before I presented No Guts No Glory

Meeting Dr.Bennett Omalu before I presented No Guts No Glory

What is PINK Research?

Partnered with two Clemson University professors, I conducted a study of female and male athletes' experience of concussion which has now been published in a peer review journal. I have presented our findings at:

  • NCAA II Athletic Trainer Conference, 2014
  • American Society of Neuroradiology Annual Conference, 2015
  • Santa Clara Valley Brain Injury Conference, 2015
  • American Academy of Neurology's Sports Concussion Conference, 2014 and 2015 
  • The World Brain Injury Congress, 2016

Why RTL Conferences?

In 2014, I produced four state conferences where I along with a faculty of medical professionals trained over 650 Connecticut school nurses/staff in best practices to help students recover from concussions and lower the risk of liability for the schools. I also chair the Technology Work Group at National Council on Youth Sports Safety, Inc. and continue to speak around the country on the topic of concussions. 

Why did I focus on Youth Sports in 2009?

I launched SportsCapp.com to deal with the loopholes in the 2009 Connecticut Concussion Law. Sports CAPP.com was designed to help recreational teams, town leagues and private schools build concussion awareness into their programs for players, coaches and parents.  I designed this website around my concern with middle school aged athletes who are not covered by CT Concussion Law since they play in private or town leagues rather than in public middle schools where they would be protect by the law.  I had been working with CT and NY lacrosse leagues for several years and hopes to bring concussion awareness to teams from other sports across the state.  In 2010, I first founded of Team Concussion, a social media/web based support group for teenagers who were isolated at home with concussions.

Katherine Price Snedaker, LMSW

  • 203.984.0860
  • Katherine@PINKconcussions.com

I will always try to answer calls and emails within 48 hours. In any case of any medical emergency, please call 911.

Also see SportsCAPP.com  Concussion Awareness and Prevention Program - our sister youth sport site

Archive of Katherine in the Press for PINK Concussions or SportsCAPP - click logo or photo below for 2016 articles, click here

Blogs which have published SportsCAPP articles

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